Data from the 2011 Brookfield relocation trends survey suggests that for the majority of spouses/partners the decision of accompanying an expatriate to a foreign country was made at the expense of their own careers, as around 60% of partners had a job before but not during the assignment. In addition to these employment problems, and apart from the cultural adjustment challenges that both face, partners may lack more social support and interactions than expatriates themselves: they do not have an office to go to, colleagues to interact with, and working routines to help stabilize the ups and downs of their ‘new life’. Thus, the adjustment and life abroad for an accompanying partner may be very stressful and challenging. Naturally, this situation will influence the expatriate him/herself and becomes an extra challenge to overcome during the assignment.
However, despite these problems, which may serve as extra difficulties to overcome for the expatriate him/herself, the majority still prefers to relocate with their partner. The 2011 Brookfield survey indicates that about 80% of expatriates are accompanied by their partners during the assignment. Why so? Maybe these numbers indicate that the partner is a key source for overcoming the challenges of relocating to a foreign place, by being supportive, helpful, and, most importantly, the closest person there for you.
So what do you think? Does an accompanying partner have a negative or rather a positive impact on the expatriate’s own experience?